I was organizing library books in my four-year-old’s room while he dressed for bed the other night. I looked up from my task. He gave me an odd little smile as he unbuttoned his shirt, and I noticed something unexpected.
“You’re wearing my sports bra,” I said.
Under his blue plaid shirt he wore the black sports bra I’d hung on a towel rack in my bathroom after my walk that morning.
“Yes,” he said. He seemed to be waiting to see what I’d do.
He had it on backwards so it looked kind of like a wrestler’s singlet (if there were such a thing as a two-piece singlet). He must have nabbed it sometime during the day. I wondered how long he’d been wearing it.
“Okay,” I said. “Just make sure you put it back in my bathroom when you’re done with it.”
“Because I need it for my walks.” Which seemed a bit disingenuous. If I’m being honest, he probably gets nearly as much benefit from wearing my sports bra as I do. I wear it less because I need it than because it makes my strolls around the neighborhood seem more like legitimate exercise.
“Do you have other sports bras?” he asked. I considered lying to him.
“Yes,” I admitted.
“May I have one?”
“We’ll see. Let’s read some books!” I said, falling back on the parenting standards of delay and distraction.
But I wouldn’t be done with this sports bra thing so easily.
The next morning he woke up at the same time I did. He pulled my sports bra off the towel bar before I had a chance to put it on.
“May I have that?” I asked. “I need to wear it for my walk.”
“But can I have another one?” he asked as I wrestled the bra over my head. I thought about it a moment and decided that there was no harm in letting my four-year-old have one of my sports bras. Once I had my shirt on, I walked to my dresser drawer and pulled out the coral-colored sports bra I’d gotten on sale two years ago. I started to hand it to him, but reconsidered.
“Actually, I’ll give you the black one. This one is more comfortable on me,” I said.
“No, I want this one,” he said. “I like pink sports bras.”
In too far now and at a loss for any reason to deny my son the sports bra I’d promised him, I gave him the bra. He headed to his bedroom to get dressed.
That evening as he changed clothes again, I realized he’d worn that bra under his clothes all day.
“You’re taking off my sports bra,” I observed as he tugged his arms through the straps.